Bangladesh + 8 more

COVID-19, land, natural resources, gender issues and Indigenous Peoples' rights in Asia

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Abstract:

Secure tenure rights and meaningful participation in the management of land, territories and natural resources are a key element for the food security of Indigenous Peoples, who often rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Indigenous Peoples have a strong cultural, spiritual, social and economic connection with their land, which is closely linked to their identity and existence itself. Land and natural resources tenure security is also at the core of human rights’ enjoyment among Indigenous Peoples. Their right to food, shelter and an adequate standard of living – just to name a few – are closely linked to secure tenure rights. Furthermore, Indigenous Peoples play a critical role ensuring sustainable development and biodiversity conservation, and their land tenure security is closely associated with that. Before the pandemic, forced evictions and conflicts over their land, territories and resources were already driving Indigenous Peoples into poverty and vulnerability. The COVID-19 crisis has led to reports of encroachment upon indigenous land, creating hardship during an especially difficult time and placing Indigenous Peoples in a precarious situation. In this context, this brief asks specifically what impact COVID-19 is having on Indigenous Peoples’ rights, especially women, elaborating on how challenges could be overcome leaving no one behind.